Price paid: £ 30
Purchased from: Ebay
Features — 8
The Rocket Special is a typical fat strat style guitar (HSS), the bridge humbucker is definitely worth the money alone and can produce a pretty great tone for a cheap guitar. The guitar is completely blacked out and features a dot inlay 21 jumbo fret design with a pretty cool looking bat wing shaped head stock. For a cheap guitar it's pretty good looking and has everything a beginner would really need, non locking tuners, 5 way selector to go between the pickups, although I usually stick with the bridge hum.
Sound — 8
Like I said before the humbucker in the bridge position gives this guitar quite a lot of bang for it's buck. It can easily bust out some heavy duty Black Sabbath riffs or you can turn it down a little for some more subtlety, sticking it through my Zoom GFX-707 on the Van Halen setting is always great for making my unsuspecting friends jump out of their skin. You could probably get a pretty good variety of sounds out of the guitar but personally I would probably stick to metal, heavy rock or some grunge on this thing just because of the way it feels.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
When I received the guitar from eBay the setup was pretty shocking but I'm guessing it was due to the previous owner. For some reason there was a spring missing from the back of the guitar which had caused the bridge to get pulled up by the strings as the owner tuned it. Not having an extra spring or a trem arm for the guitar I decided just to block the bridge up with some pennies instead and it's worked great. After altering the action I've also managed to get the strings quite low and it's pretty good to play on.
The pickguard also seems out of place on the guitar and after taking it off and putting it back on I still can't get it to sit perfectly flush with the body, but this could be a total coincidence to my guitar alone. Still overall I think the action and finishing of the guitar has a little to be desired compared to other models in the price range.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The previous owner of my guitar must have given it some fairly bad abuse as the wood between the bridge and pickups had been snapped down both sides and sloppily glued back into place. Still it's managed to hold up and keeps a tune, it's a little bit like Frankenstein all crudely sewn up together. The body has so many dings I can't even count them and when I got it there was rust showing on some parts of the guitar but still after being cleaned and polished up a little it manages to play surprisingly well, I think the Rocket Special is a bit of a tank of the guitar world and if you want a cheap guitar that can take a beating this is it.
Overall Impression — 7
For a starting out guitarist I would say that the Rocket Special isn't a bad little guitar to start out with, although personally I would not spend too much on it when there are better guitars out there. I'd much rather save up and get a Squier Bullet Strat or something similar. I've been playing for two years now and the guitar isn't great but I would still opt for it over one of the cheaper Epiphones, although that's down to personal taste. If the guitar was stolen I'd probably laugh quite a lot, but I'd probably end up a little sad as the guitars been good to me and provided a cheap laugh and something a little different to my other guitars, although I wouldn't buy it again.